Portion Of Fairgrounds May Become City Park 9-13-2010 - WSMV News 4

Portion Of Fairgrounds May Become City Park 9-13-2010

Reported By Nancy Amons
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean announced Monday what everyone’s been waiting to hear: his plans for the future of the fairgrounds.
Dean said at least part of the fairgrounds property will become a city park. No plans have been drawn up, but Dean mentioned the possibility of ball parks, soccer fields, green space or greenways.
However, not everyone is crazy about the idea.
At the fairgrounds Monday night, Tammy Wilkerson told Channel 4 News she accepts progress, but doesn’t like losing the history and heritage of the 100-year-old fairgrounds. She took her 2-year-old granddaughter, Zoe Martin, to experience the fair the same way she experienced it when she was a girl.
"They could make some improvements, but I would like for it to stay the same," Wilkerson said.
Dean said he doesn’t know how big the park will be or exactly where it will be placed on the property. He mentioned that 40 acres of the existing fairgrounds property is in the floodplain.
"This will be a huge upgrade in the way this will look, than the way it is right now," Dean said.
Dean isn't saying what goes on the higher ground, where a number of exhibit halls are now.
A year ago, Dean said he wants to attract economic development. Monday, he confirmed there are currently no offers on the land.
Several members of city council told Channel 4 that they are reserving judgment on the park plan until they know more. Several said a city park is fine, but what else goes on the rest of the land?
“The devil's in the details," said Councilman Jim Gotto.
Councilman Duane Dominy said closing the fairgrounds, which is home to 270 events a year, is premature.
"But to shut down the property for the sake of doing that unless there's some other plan somewhere seems way short-sighted for me," Dominy said.
The mayor's park plan still has to go before Metro Council. They would have to approve spending $2 million to start creating the park.
The Nashville Civic Design Center completed a study on its findings after a year-long period of public input into the future of the fairgrounds. A copy of its report can be found here.

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